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5 Beginner Yoga Poses to Start Your Day

Today, June 21 people all over the world are celebrating International Yoga Day. Originating in Indian about 5,000 years ago, yoga is a rich, ancient practice. The practice later gained popularity in the Western world as a means to relaxation. Although yoga is a great tool for exercise, culturally yoga is seen as a way to connect the soul, mind and body. Learning yoga can be intimidating to people that haven’t given it a try. Yoga doesn’t have to be strenuous or advanced for you to learn its practice. Anyone can start their yoga journey at any level, which is the beautiful part about connecting. Beginners often learn in Vinyasa, which is a style of yoga characterized by stringing poses together for a smooth flow from one to another. Here are 5 beginner yoga poses explained by Healthline that make up a basic Vinyasa sequence.

Mountain Pose (Tadasana)

First, you’re going to stand tall, feet apart. If you’re standing correctly you will see that your second toes are parallel. Press into every part of your feet into the floor, including your heels and toes. Take a deep breath in, rolling your shoulders up and back. Keep your neck long. This pose looks like you’re simply standing, however you are working your legs and torso.

Forward Fold (Uttanasana)

Inhaling again, lifting your arms to the sides and over your head. On your exhale, release your arms in front or out to the side of your body as you fold your torso over your legs. On the first time through, have a slight bend in your knees. No matter how flexible you are, your hamstrings will be cold when starting out, and you’ll want to ease into it. As you relax into the pose more, begin to straighten your legs as far as feels good. Anything that pinches or is a shooting pain should immediately stop your movement. Don’t pull yourself down and try to force the fold.

Plank Pose (Uttihita Chaturanga Dandasana)

From Forward Fold, put your hands flat on the floor, bending your knees as much as needed to do so. Step back one leg at a time, until you’re in a high Plank Pose. Press into your hands, keeping your legs parallel and engaged. Bring your belly button toward your spine. Take a few deep breaths here, working your core and your arms.

Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

From Plank Pose, push into your hands and lift your hips up and back on the inhale. One thing that can be tricky with this pose is, again, keeping your shoulders engaged but not working too hard, and keeping a neutral spine. Your legs should be straight, and your heels working toward the floor. There will probably be some space between your heels and the floor. You could be very flexible, but if your legs are a bit on the long side, you probably won’t have your heels all the way to the floor. Keep your legs active and heels reaching toward the ground. Your first time in this pose, pedal out your feet a little to warm up your leg muscles.

Child’s Pose (Balasana)

In Downward-Facing Dog, take a deep breath. On the exhale, release your knees to the floor, pull your hips back to your heels, and rest your forehead on the floor. You can either leave your arms stretched in front of you or pull them next to your body, hands resting palms up near your feet. This is a restorative pose, so adjust it to your needs. If you want to widen your knees a bit, do so. Like all forward folds, this pose is nurturing. It relaxes your spine, shoulders, and neck, and massages your internal organs.

Featured Gifs by Healthline & Featured photo by Shutterstock

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